At Bublish, we saw a dramatic shift take place at the beginning of April: eBook sales started to rise quickly while adult print sales were down with the closure of bookstores and libraries and Amazon’s de-prioritization of print books as nonessential items during the pandemic.
Currently, eBook sales are at holiday levels. With most of the nation stuck home, people are reading more than ever. The instant delivery of eBooks feeds this growing demand. For authors, the eBook reading boom presents a number of opportunities.
Bucking the eBook trend, physical books to entertain young children are selling like hotcakes. As parents struggle to juggle work at home AND homeschool their children, they’ve purchased activity books in record numbers. Sales in this category have risen nearly 40% in recent weeks and present another opportunity for independent authors who can move quickly to capitalize on these trends.
Here are some ideas on how to capitalize on the quarantine reading boom:
Release One or More Short eBooks Quickly
Consider producing short, high quality books in the digital format. Why should you jump on this trend? Short eBooks—around 20,000 words in length—can be powerful marketing tools and they can be generated quickly and affordably. Here two important benefits of this approach:
- Short eBooks Engage New Readers—By keeping the price of your eBook low (.99 cents) or even free, you can engage new readers who are more willing to sample new authors at the right price and a shorter length. With more readers willing to give your work a try, you can build awareness of your writing. This might bring attention to other books you’ve already published or shine a spotlight on a forthcoming title.
- Short eBooks Can Grow Your Email List—Use a short eBook to delight readers and then invite them over to your website for more. This can be done with a website link at the end of your book or with an invite to a “reader magnet” inside your eBook. A reader magnet is content you give away for free in exchange for a reader’s email address. What makes a good reader magnet? Free short stories, chapters, sneak peeks, novellas or content that compliments your eBook like coloring or activity pages for a children’s book or a downloadable workbook for a business or self-help book. As long as your reader magnet is something fans want, you can get creative!
Create Children’s Activity Books
Parents around the world are juggling jobs and duties while trying to keep their young children busy with activities other than television. That’s why educational activity books are very popular right now.
How can you ride this wave? If you’re a children’s book author, create an activity book that compliments your books. You can put your characters into activity books with a list of your children’s books and your website at the end the book.
If you’re not up to creating an entire book, just create coloring or activity sheets as PDFs and host them on your website for parents to download. Either way, grateful parents will remember your generosity.
Family Fun, How To, and Home School Books
Other categories have also become more popular during quarantine. Families trying to get creative with learning and downtime activities are looking for inspiration. Authors with audiences in the Family Fun, How To, or Home School categories can lean into this trend with short print and eBooks that can be created quickly and affordably. They can be a powerful way to build visibility for your work and make readers more aware of your offerings. For teachers this is a wonderful way to earn passive income from activities you do with students in your classroom.
Host Online Readings and Book Clubs
Zoom and other online meeting platforms are all the rage during the quarantine, but not just for business meetings. Families and friends are gathering socially and authors are using these platforms to host online readings and book clubs. Lean into this popular trend to engage your readers and build awareness of your work.
We hope these ideas help you think about the possibilities and how you might capitalize on the 2020 reading boom!